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Video Hardware & Software

HDTVs Sales Single End to STVs

October 24, 2008

Shipments of High-Definition televisions this year surpassed that of standard TVs, according to iSuppli, a leading market researcher.

Significant price reductions and the increasing availability of content over multiple distribution channels are the key drivers behind HDTV sales. 

And don't all sports events look better in HD? 

As a result, HDTV shipments are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 20% from 97.1 million units last year to 241.2 million by 2012. In 2008, HDTV shipments will reach 124.2 million units, while non-HDTV shipments fall to 86.6 million.

With the technology everywhere these days -- on broadcast television, cable, satellite and the Internet, you can't escape hearing about something being broadcast in HD or getting the most out of your HD receiver or the most HD channels available.

Shipments of standard definition TVs (STVs), on the other hand, are expected to decline at a rate of 27% from 114.8 million units in 2007 to 23.1 million units by 2012, iSuppli said.

More at InformationWeek.

Rovio Wi-Fi VoIP Robotic Webcam

October 24, 2008

The WowWee Rovio is a cool Wi-Fi enabled robotic webcam. I like to call Rovio a remote-controlled VoIP webcam sentry robot.

The Rovio is pretty futuristic looking. It looks like it belongs on some sci-fi TV show or movie.

How Low Can Blu-ray Go?

October 22, 2008

If you've got any cash, this may be a truly wonderful season to buy all the gadgets you want -- it's list the Xmas shopping season isn't even waiting to Halloween this year (forget about Thanksgiving!).

Try this one on for size -- Best Buy is selling its proprietary Insignia brand Blu-ray Disc player for $199 (after a $30 in-store discount) -- more than 40% off the suggested retail price.

Industry observers have long considered a sub-$200 price point key to bridging the demarcation line separating early adopters from mainstream consumers.

The Profile 1.1 (NS-BRDVD) player, which includes $100 in discount coupons on select Blu-ray movies, has been viewed as a "conversation starter" designed to spark consumer interest in high-definition packaged media.

In addition, the price drop, less than six weeks before Black Friday, when retailers traditionally slash prices on select consumer products heading into the holiday shopping season, follows a move by Target, which last week bowed an Olevia-brand Profile 1.1 player for $229.

Analysts are surprised by the price cut since Blu-ray manufacturers have said it was not economically advantageous to go below $299, much less $200. However, we can now expect to see multiple $199 units with $20 rebates and free discs thrown in. 

But don't expect the $199 to be common; every retailer will want at least one model at that level, if only to seduce you into that section of the store.

More at Home Media Magazine.

Philips Bows Swappable Xbox 360-Like TV Faceplates

October 15, 2008

Philips has announced the launch of a range of swappable faceplates for its televisions. They will work in a similar way to the Xbox 360 and allow you to customize your television to match your d├ęcor.

Called "Flavors," the new flat high-gloss white TV will feature removable frames. The removable frames are available in a variety of colors and patterns that can be customized and taken on and off the front of the TV in a matter of seconds.

A matching Flavors home theater system also has interchangeable frames.

1 Billion Wi-Fi Gadgets by 2012?!

October 7, 2008

Do We Need a Digital Bill of Rights?

October 6, 2008

TechCrunch, much like the Digital Freedom Campaign, believes we need a Digital Bill of Rights to serve as "a consistent policy governing everything from Internet Protocol regulations to intellectual property on the Web."

The Digital Freedom Campaign focuses on the first three issues laid out in the TechCrunch piece -- "The Right to Use and Reuse Content," "The Right to Control Digital Property On Your Own Device" and "The Right to the Free Flow of Information."

The presidential election gives us a chance to turn the page and move forward, with support and guidance from policymakers, into a bright digital future.

Now let's see if anyone in Washington is listening.

Read more about it at TechCrunch.

And then cast your vote!

Is It Time for 3D TV?

October 6, 2008

With such television makers as Samsung and Panasonic unveiling flat-screen sets that are capable of displaying 3-D content, the format is widely considered the next leap forward in TV technology.

So far, 3-D programming has been about stunts and gimmicks rather than an earnest play to engage viewers on a deeper level. With growing competition from other media, however, it may be time for the television industry to push forward with 3-D.

The technological advances are the necessary foundation that network programmers need before they invest more in 3-D.

As consumers invest in televisions that can handle 3-D content -- either over-the-air or through Blu-ray players -- networks in turn will have an incentive to invest in both producing and broadcasting content in 3-D.

More at  

Motorola Femtocell Picture Frame Combines VoIP, Video, Bluetooth, Touchscreen and more

September 26, 2008

Check out this cool new converged prototype device from Motorola that combines a picture frame with touch-screen, video camera, Bluetooth headset, VoIP, femtocell, and video streaming. A femtocell is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments that allows you to use your mobile phone in your home connecting to your femtocell access point.

Femtocells essentially are an alternative way to deliver the benefits of Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) without the need for a dual-mode handset. In the Youtube demo video below demoed by Motorola representative Harsha Hegde, you can clearly see they're using the popular Counterpath Xten SIP-based softphone - also shown in the screen grab above. Motorola also demonstrates a femtocell mobile-to-mobile VoIP call, which is pretty cool.

Make Mine Memorex: Nice Blu-ray for $269

September 19, 2008

SanDisk Goes 32GB Flash for Photo/Video Pros

September 12, 2008

SanDisk has introduced a 32-GB CompactFlash card, the company's largest CF storage device for professional digital photographers and videographers.

The latest Extreme III CompactFlash is twice the size of SanDisk's previous largest product. The new card has read and write speeds of 30 MBps.

The higher-capacity card is aimed at people who use Hi-Def camcorders, enabling users to store as much as 80 minutes of 100 MBps, 10-bit, 4:2:2 HD video, which is of sufficient quality for today's professional video applications, according to SanDisk.

For photographers, the additional capacity is useful for storing pictures shot in RAW format. The format uses 10 times the storage space as regular JPG images, but provides higher-quality images.

The card can operate under temperatures ranging from minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pricing: 2 GB, $45; 4 GB, $70; 8 GB, $130; and 16 GB, $240; 32 GB, $300.

Availability: October.

Get more at Information Week.

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